Nightlife in Austin, TX
The hipster hangout Shangri-La makes for a fun Friday night. The bartenders are generous and friendly, the drinks are affordable and the atmosphere is relaxed. Lounge with your friends at a picnic table underneath arching trees outside, or cozy up to a date in the dimly lit basement. If you’re lucky enough to be in Austin on the second Sunday of the month, make sure you’re at Shangri-La for the Second Sunday Sock Hop. Sport a vintage-inspired frock and do the twist at this throwback dance party hosted once a month.
Situated on Congress Avenue in the heart of downtown, Speakeasy showcases an intersection of old and new Austin. The building is historic and is even rumored to be haunted, yet the energy inside the club is anything but old and stuffy. Bands take the stage on the main level every night, ranging in musical styles from big band to contemporary, and DJs play sets on the weekends. After listening to the night’s band on the main floor, climb Speakeasy’s 59 stairs to the chic rooftop terrace to view a stunning panorama of Austin’s skyline. Wondering when to head over to Speakeasy? Try Tuesday for salsa and brush up on your steps with free lessons, or grab some girlfriends and head over for Ladies Night on Thursdays.
Imagine you are enjoying a wonderful party at a friend’s house. Now imagine that friend also has professional bartenders and ample seating. That is what it feels like to hang out at Lustre Pearl. Tucked away on popular, but often overlooked Rainey Street, Lustre Pearl houses itself in… well, a house. Vintage, bare-boned but pretty with its revealed wood beams, dusty paint and a see-through fireplace, Lustre Pearl’s atmosphere is vaguely romantic; it is as if the building just happened to gently fade into its current state. The exterior is as relaxed and understated as someone’s backyard. Outside, you’ll find low-sitting tables and chairs, a ping-pong table, the occasional dog and a food trailer for your late night cravings.
Dine at East Side Show Room, an eclectic, beautifully decorated gourmet bar and restaurant, and you’ll be sure to add a little bit of romance to your evening out. Here, the magic is in the details — the whimsical pin-cushion bar stools, the mason jars used as water glasses, the stunning Tim Burton-esque metal chairs created by one of the owners. The cocktails are serious and old-fashioned and the food is seasonal and locally sourced. The menu even specifies which items were contributed by which Texan farm. Small bands often play in the space, serenading guests and completing the Showroom’s dreamy, sometimes mystical, ambiance.
In a town known for keeping it weird, this is how the weird do movies. At the Alamo Drafthouse, you can eat and drink during the flick, often selecting items from a menu inspired by the movie of choice. Get your tickets early as even long-running shows sell out, and arrive with enough time to enjoy the Alamo-chosen previews, which often include spoofs of the movie you’re about to see. The Alamo Drafthouse also keeps their audiences entertained with quote-alongs, dance parties and other special screenings that make this night at the movies unlike any you have ever experienced. There are multiple locations in Austin, so check schedules online to find the best theater for you.